West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Saturday that her government will not follow the Gujarat model for industrialisation, indicating that the State will evolve its own model for creating a resurgent West Bengal. “Gujarat is Gujarat and Bengal is Bengal we will evolve our own way to bring resurgence here,” she said.
Addressing a gathering of over 200 industry heads and corporate chiefs, Ms. Banerjee said that she was against the “disastrous politics” of calling bandhs and strikes. Industrial agitation will have to be resolved while keeping open the factory gates, she said.
She reiterated that land would have to be purchased by the industry directly and without using force.
Ms. Banerjee also announced the constitution of a 23-member core committee which will meet every fortnight and resolve industry issues. Addressing the gathering, Finance Minister Amit Mitra said: “This committee is your cabinet and it will sit every 15 days for discussing industry matters.” It will comprise representatives of the three apex chambers, local industry bodies and three Ministers including the Chief Minister.
The Chief Minister said that in her one month in office, she had fulfilled most of her poll promises and now she intended to take up industry and agriculture.
‘NOT ACTING IN HASTE’
Dismissing the criticism that she was acting in haste, the State’s first woman Chief Minister said: “It is alright to make mistakes which happen only if you work hard. But mistakes can always be rectified. I feel that every moment is precious. Make my Industry Minister run,” she told the gathering in jest, poking fun at Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee’s portly frame.
The ambience at Saturday’s two-hour-long meeting was more business-like compared to the meeting held by Ms. Banerjee in August 2009 soon after the Lok Sabha elections and her appointment as the Union Railway Minister.
The Chief Minister said that a system would be set up for monitoring the progress of industrial proposals. Among these present were Y.C. Deveshwar of Indian Tobacco Company, Adi Godrej, Sanjiv Goenka, S.K.Birla, Harsh Neotia, A.K. Rungta, M.K. Jalan, and the senior representatives of many companies based here and outside. The meeting was held at the Railway Officers’ Club and Ms. Banerjee said that she planned to make it a bi-annual affair.
During her opening remarks, she said the State had an Industrial Entrepreneurs Memorandum (IEM) implementation rate of only 27 per cent and there was a sizeable backlog.
She said IT and tourism were two areas which had great potential in the State. An IT hub could be set up in every district, she said.
CONCRETE PROPOSALS SOUGHT
She asked for concrete proposals for setting up industries in the land locked up with 49,000 closed units. She asked Jindals (who hold 4,500 acres in Salboni in Pashim Medinipur) to sort out their problem so that the unit can come up.
Industry wanted the Chief Minister to set up a land map and also to bring about a visible change in infrastructure, especially roads and drainage. A section sought the abolition of the Urban Land Ceiling Act. Hindu